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Monday, August 29, 2016

Will Diversity be Working with a Gary Johnson Presidency?

Gary Johnson is the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee in the 2016 elections. The Libertarian Party (LP) , a U.S. political party based on the principle of libertarianism, promotes civil liberties, non-interventionism, laissez-faire capitalism and the abolition of the welfare state.

He used to be a Republican, and served as governor of New Mexico for two consecutive terms (January 1, 1995– January 1, 2003) under the Republican Party. He then shifted alliance to the LP in late 2011, to continue his candidacy for president, which he earlier announced when he was still in the Republican fold.
On December 28, 2011, after being excluded from the majority of the Republican Party's presidential debates and failing to gain traction while campaigning for the New Hampshire primary, he withdrew his candidacy for the Republican nomination and announced that he would continue his presidential campaign as a candidate for the nomination of the Libertarian Party.[3] He won the Libertarian Party nomination on May 5, 2012.

His candidacy offers voters a middle ground choice between Hillary Clinton's modern progressive stance and Donald Trump's divisive, authoritarian style of leadership.

Here is how he generally
stands on issues:
Individual rights – fairly neutral;
Domestic issues – slighly conservative;
Economic issues – slighly conservative;
Defense and International issues – slighly liberal

Specifically on individual rights, Gary Johnson favors abortion and the hiring of women and minorities.
He also is comfortable with same-sex marriage. On the other hand, he also agrees to keep God in the public sphereand finds the regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) too restrictive.

What is crucial to know is what Gary Johnson can do in relation to diversity and inclusion.

How would Johnson promote a program of diversity working in American society, as defined by safe inner cities, jobs creation, access to education, and charter schools?

Johnson's stance on diversity is a salient point, as the nation is expected to grow more diverse in the coming years, and considering that many Americans feel they are not represented by either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, says one report, citing Reuters which said Forty-seven percent of Trump supporters said their main priority when voting will be to stop Clinton from reaching the White House. And 46 percent of Clinton backers said the same of Trump.

The two major candidates are said to be playing on the electorate's' fear of “the other” in order to gain votes for “their side.”

But with Gary Johnson, alongside his running mate, Mass. Gov. William Weld, the same report also says, there will be less partisan politics, as Johnson can bridge the divide between political parties because he, as well as Weld have a reputation for catering to their constituents, not only their political parties.

In which case, diversity will most likely flourish under a Johnson presidency, and this is a positive step towards the future.

A Johnson presidency can jell the diverse racial and ethnic members of the American population, projected to change even more in 50 years hence, characterized by a greater number of new immigrants and their descendants, a Pew Research Center report said last year. The U.S. electorate already is more diverse than ever, and the projected demographic changes would produce a rising share of non-white potential voters.

That may be a long way off, but laying the groundwork for stronger, more effective diversity policies now, will spell a great difference in the future.

His term as New Mexico's governor garnered a favorable response – and his political stand then, seen as fiscally conservative, was considered also as socially liberal, implying that Johnson's administration could work for the spread of diversity across the nation.

Here is an overview of Johnson's stances on issues to see if diversity will truly work, in terms of the following:

Safe inner cities
Gary Johnson wants inner cities to be safe.

First, he believes that Black Lives do matter: “And when it’s responded to by ‘all lives matter,” he continued, “Yes, all lives matter, but all lives, white, are not being shot six times the rate of blacks and that’s what we need to be aware of.”

Based on reports, such as the above, Johnson's responses to questions regarding police brutality do not articulate any clear, specific policy on how to address the crisis, except for going “to study and replicate state and local best practices when it comes to law enforcement, and build partnership between all levels of law enforcement...”

But this does not necessarily show Johnson is out of touch with the problem. He acknowledges the existence of racial discrimination.
The former New Mexico governor said that when it comes to race relations, particularly for a white man like himself, “My head’s been in the sand on this.” “I think we’ve all had our heads in the sand,” Johnson added.

As to crime, Johnson offers the suggestion that to legalize marijuana/drug use would reduce the rate of criminal offense, as he believes many crimes are drug-related.
Half of all crime is drug-related. Half. Half of what we spend--on law enforcement, on the courts, on prisons--is drug-related. If we legalized drugs, we would destroy the environment that allows and even encourages all those crimes.

Jobs Creation
In line with making inner cities safe, especially for African Americans, Johnson advocates for the creation of jobs, by businesses, not by government.

He was quoted as saying, “When I was governor of New Mexico, I had the highest job growth of any of the 50 governors. But I didn't create a single job--businesses did. I just got government out of their way. We have an unprecedented opportunity to use today's crisis to return us to economic growth and prosperity.”

And to help ease the burden of corporations, Johnson supports the elimination of double taxation which is embodied in business income taxes. Gary Johnson believes the time has come to eliminate the punishing tax code we have today and replace it with a system that rewards productivity, investment & savings.

Backed by his solid experience of having grown his own business into a million-dollar corporation, Johnson strongly believes in eliminating corporate tax in order to generate jobs. Everyone else is parsing it in terms of lowering the corporate income tax. Eliminate it. It's not that big of a generator of income, and it's a double tax. Get rid of it and you would have an explosion of hiring.

Access to Education and Charter Schools
Without proper or enough education, young people face difficulties in getting employed, much less land a good job. Deprived of education due to poverty or discrimination as in the case of minorities, including Hispanics, young people also face the prospect of a life of penury, or of crime.

The fact is nearly 85% of the juveniles who face trial in the juvenile court system are functionally illiterate, proving that there is a close relationship between illiteracy and crime. More than 60% of all inmates are functionally illiterate.

Those able to secure a college education are often burdened with student loans.

These are just some of the problems regarding education Gary Johnson would like to address, and here's how:
- The public school system needs major reform: We need to compare one school to another when it comes to test scores in the various categories. We also need to be able to look at one school from one year to the next, and have the results put out in a format that is easy to read and easy to understand.
- Vouchers are constitutional and fine for childcare and schools run by religious institutions.
- He wants a $3,500 voucher for every K-12 student; make K-12 education competitive, just like higher education.
- He believes student loans are what makes tuition cost higher.
- Johnson is pro-charter schools; as governor, he signed bills that would allow for more charter schools which will allow some students in New Mexico to go to public schools that are freed from educational bureaucracy and free to be more innovative and focus on results."  

 This may not be a comprehensive look into presidential aspirant Gary Johnson, and some of his ideas may sound radical – such as proposing to abolish the Department of Education - his rationale: Without federal regulations and mandates, schools could choose to purchase new computers, better lab equipment, and maintain after-school sports and music programs even during times of tight budgets.

But one can sense it's people first, for him, and that's what's striking about his positions about which he seems confident. His views presented above give voters a glean of his underlying philosophy: limited government and classical liberal views.

As stated on their campaign website, Gary Johnson and his running mate, William Weld, both offer a breath of fresh air to a presidential election that is otherwise consumed by divisive partisan rhetoric.

Being a Libertarian, Johnson provides hope that everyone can equally have their fair deal in life. Everyone is included in his vision.

One write-up said, “Our enemy is the government. Libertarians see people as individuals first.”

With that, diversity may indeed work well in a Gary Johnson presidency, if given a chance.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Team USA (Rio Summer Olympics) Wins Gold for Diversity

The 2016 Summer Olympics has just begun, but the way to the finish is already paved with cheers, for Team USA, dons with pride the mantle of diversity and inclusion.

Diversity is proudly on display in the team's composition: They are boxers and gymnasts, rowers and runners, swimmers and fencers. They are young and old, white and black, world famous and virtually unknown. They are a lot like us.
A total of 554 competitors, with 262 males and 292 females, comprise Team USA for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio, where they are competing in 31 sports.

The diverse national team is an interesting mix of “some Olympic veterans and lots of fresh faces” as well, creating a new dynamics, according to the Washington Post. So as America wakes up to the daily rhythm of the Olympics, it does so with a different team. And across all sports, that creates a different dynamic, the article said. 

Extolling the country's team representative to the prestigious Games, in his weekly address to the nation, President Obama said, “Team USA reminds the world why America always sets the gold standard: We’re a nation of immigrants that finds strength in our diversity and unity in our national pride.”

The affirmation that diversity reaps good is the harvest of medals and honor on the first day of competition.

The 1st Olympic Gold went to Team USA's Virginia Thrasher for besting two Chinese rivals in the Women's 10m rifle (Shooting) event on August 6. With two shots to go in the women’s air rifle event, Thrasher, who is known as Ginny, led by 0.7 points. She coolly squeezed off shots of 10.5 and 10.4 to take gold. 
The men's team in Archery (Brady Ellison, Zach Garrett, and Jake Kaminski) won Silver in the August 6 event. See here

Building such a diverse team of men and women athletes is in consonance with the goal of the modern Olympics to promote peace and unity in the world through sports, and a way to heal the wounds and division of the nation. Sports is a great level playing field, where everyone has an equal opportunity to play fair and square. 

The idea of having a modern Olympics to revive the lost ancient sports tradition was conceived by the French Baron Pierre de Coubertin. He founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1894, the governing body of the Olympic Movement, with the Olympic Charter defining its structure and authority. 

The Olympic Movement aims to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practiced without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play. 

The United States Olympic Committee (USOC), is dedicated to supporting U.S. athletes achieve sustained competitive excellence. To fulfill this mission, the USOC recognizes the need to increase diversity and ensure the inclusion of all U.S. Citizens.

Generating much interest and hope is the U.S.A.'s gymnastic team, a powerful group of 5 fantastic and fabulous women: Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Simone Biles, Madison Kocian and Laurie Hernandez.
...whether intentional or not,Team USA had already scored a huge victory for diversity. With a mix of races and ethnicities—black, white, Latina, Jewish—this was easily the most diverse group of women to represent USA gymnastics at the Olympics. And while each woman was selected for her ability and potential to medal, that doesn't change the fact that seeing the different faces on this year's team is important and also pretty damn cool.”

As one article about the diversity of the women gymnastic team said, "Representation matters!" and even white Americans are pleased to behold the sight of a team that includes more reflections of the ethnic makeup of the country we live in.
Indeed. As important as well is the fact that this year's Summer Olympic Games are being held in an election year, when seeds of hatred and division are being sown, derision of people because of their gender and ethnicity is heard, calls for creating walls and banning people on the basis of religion and race are being made.

Hopefully, the message of peace and unity through the promotion of diversity and inclusion by Team USA will not be lost, and the cause for this wins big in the presidential race.